Should the NBA be cut back to 24 teams?
Fans yearn for the glory days of great rivalries like the Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. Critics of the current NBA say there just aren't enough great players to fill out 30 teams.
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Don’t forget the Philadelphia team with Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, and Bobby Jones. Or the Milwaukee Bucks with Marques Johnson, Bob Lanier, and Sidney Moncrief.Skip to next paragraph
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Exorbitant prices for basketball snoozers
Such teams with so many luminaries made for more constant great-team matchups and the occasional wimpfest a very rare occurrence. Now, the once-occasional sleepfest is a regular occurrence – all the more devastating to fans paying exorbitant prices for tickets, food, and parking.
The NBA grew from 24 teams to 29 between 1988 and 1995 and added a 30th in 2004 but attendance has not followed. Of those 30, 11 are averaging lower than 16,000 per game and eight are below 14,000.
“Nearly two decades later we are left with a watered-down league filled with a bunch of mediocre clubs behind a few good ones,” argues Bonsignore.
Jeanie Buss made her comments in a recent interview with the online Wall Street Journal.
“I would hate to see us lose teams, but I think contraction is something we have to consider,” she said. “We may be in some markets we shouldn’t be in.”
The fallout has sizzled ever since.
“(Twenty-four teams) is really a great number at one time,” coach Phil Jackson said at press conference. “You could play five in your division and four in your conference and you could really set up division rivalries with such a thing like that.”
The L.A. Daily News agrees.
“By eliminating six teams, you would greatly enhance the chances we’d be seeing those sorts of groupings again, just as we did two decades ago,” the paper said in its lead Sports story Saturday, topping the piece with the four-inch headline “NO PAIN, NO GAIN.”
[Editor's note: the original version of this story misspelled Erving and misrepresented Jeannie Buss's relationship with Phil Jackson.]